Size / / /


Long-armed now, hard-boned

and wingless, I'm

a woman grown. Now,

not never, I live

above ground. I don't have any children.

There's a man in this bed I might love

if he could believe

where I've been,

in the hot island of my skin

torn by wet and dirty arrows—

if he could know why I'm done

with the twill of being a girl,

with my hands drifting down

to dust the fine sleeves of boys

who want flight

from me and the fierce light

my stories gave them, want back

their first black wings.


Rope coils into my wrists and I'm

in the ship again, pressed

to the sweat of blurry pirates, the heat

of their fictional whispers

draining down my hair.

For what I've wanted

Tink wants me dead: her thin

light glares into my soft ribs.

Her glass wings hum for my blood.

My brothers twist on the bench

opposite, gagged and retching.

Peter's missing. Our mother is another country

and we've burned the map.

The boys lift their bound

arms to me. They are mine.


Peter once said I made that world. I lie

with it: guilt simmers my dreams,

seeps out in pain along my arms

when I wake forgetting

I'm home, forgetting why rain

is coming down outside

but my body's by a man's, and bone dry.

Sometimes I look across the sheet

at his sweet flesh and can't stay.

Some days my skin hurts

against anything in this world.


I think now I was meant to be the clock

in the crocodile, to claim warm minutes

in the story's gut,

in the boneless dark

alone, and later,

with Hook beside me—

a kind of matrimony. We'd

lie together. In that center

I'd stop pretending the world

wasn't a mess of salt and hunger

winding down. Our words

would taste metallic, breaking

in the acids of desire. We'd be like

my heart, dirty and wild, counting

inside a body turning away from story,

dipping under the sea.

Sally Rosen Kindred (, author of No Eden (Mayapple Press, 2011), has had poems in Blackbird and on Verse Daily, and forthcoming in Quarterly West and Hunger Mountain. She has held fellowships from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Read more at and in Best New Poets 2009: 50 Poems from Emerging Writers, edited by Kim Addonizio (Meridian/UVA Press).
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